This month, Longreads turns eight years old. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the site over the years — from the Longreads Members who fund our story budget, to my colleagues past and present at our parent company Automattic/WordPress.com, and to editor in chief Mike Dang and our growing team of editors, writers, and journalists who are producing outstanding essays and reporting every day.
I’ve often used these anniversary posts to look back, but we’re undergoing some big changes this year — not just publishing more original and exclusive stories, but also funding more serious reporting from around the world. It’s time to look ahead.
First, we have to ask ourselves: What is a magazine’s purpose for readers in 2017? What is Longreads uniquely capable of doing? And what can we pursue with transparency and clarity so that readers will be compelled to help fund this work?
The Longreads Mission
Our editorial mission has always been to share the best longform stories on the web, but for original stories our mission has been evolving and expanding:
- Publish the best stories from diverse and undiscovered voices, on topics that do not always adhere to the formulas of social media virality.
- Publish thought-provoking essays that add historical context to the events shaping our lives right now.
- Produce fact-checked, on-the-ground original reporting.
On number one, I believe we are rapidly becoming the best place on the internet for personal essays, for readers and writers. This is thanks to the outstanding work of Longreads editor Sari Botton. She is actively searching for new and original voices. Send her your pitches: Full essays only, 2,500 words and up, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On number two, we’ve made great strides over the past two years to make Longreads a place for thoughtful context on current events. Colin Dickey’s two recent essays, on the architecture of “great walls” and the “bureaucratic elements of style,” are great examples, as is the work of writers like Andrea Pitzer, Tom Maxwell, our books editor Dana Snitzky, fact-checker Matt Giles, and many others who dig into history to make sense of what’s happening now.
Number three, original reporting, is where things will get interesting for us over the next eight years.
The Pursuit of Serious Reporting
We want Longreads to publish some of the best original reporting from around the world. We’re looking to work with experienced investigative reporters (inside and outside the U.S.) and give them the time and resources required to produce ambitious projects. Send your proposals to email@example.com.
We want the reporting to be actionable, too. Our best stories should be those where you don’t just read and learn, but also participate. There should be an element of reader service in every story we tell, and how we bring this to life will determine how essential we become to our paying Members.
You Can Help Make this Happen
We’re building a noteworthy magazine and service, one small step at a time, all while never losing sight of our original mission to showcase the most interesting stories from publishers across the open web.
How can you help? Subscribe to Longreads. Become a member and contribute to our story fund.
Reader funding is the only way this will work for the next eight years, so we need your help. You can contribute as little as $3 a month, or as much as $1,000 a year. (Or more!)
Thank you for all your support over the years. We’re proud of what Longreads has accomplished and we can’t wait for what’s next.